simiart and I took on a great challenge today–Simi Peak via a loop route. We started at the trailhead near the Oakbrook Trailhead cache and headed up the trail. About 8 hours, 8.8 miles and 32 finds (for me, anyway–Art already had some finds), we returned to civilization at the Albertson Trailhead Cache is Back! cache.
The views from the trail are spectacular–if you can see the views. I was reminded of a line that I often heard when fishing, “You should have been here yesterday.” Yesterday, in fact all week long, the weather has been very clear. Today, as you can see from the photos, we had some thick haze and clouds. But it was actually a trade-off. Yesterday would have been much warmer. I wasn’t complaining at all. And the view were very nice in their own way.
It was nice to see some wildflowers blooming. We haven’t had much color on the trails for a long time.
We took an unplanned detour (read we went straight when we should have turned), but it worked out well. A place called La Mancha is a “not at the posted coordinates” cache that requires matching photos with the terrain to find the cache. Art saw the collapsed windmill on the side of the trail and realized it matched the cache requirements. I signed the log (this was one of the caches that Art already had) and we quickly backtracked to the correct trail.
And up the trail we went. Actually that should read “And UP the trail we slowly went. This is a challenging route. The trail is often steeper than climbing stairs. Whenever we came to a place where we needed to decide which way to go, the correct choice was always the path that was the steepest.
You can see the trail over my shoulder. The photo makes it look a lot easier that it actually is.
I enjoyed the weathered rocks along the way. Many reminded me of Swiss cheese. It was also interesting to note that the faults that raised these mountains were in a different direction than the faults in the Rocky Peak area.
You can see Art in the middle of the photo above. This is a good representation of what the trail was like on the way to Simi Peak. Often we couldn’t see the trail ahead. We just knew if we were heading up, we were going the right way.
It was a pleasure hiking with Art today. The last time were were out together (it was also the first time), Art said that I almost killed him. I think he was only half joking. It was a tough hike. We were doing lightningstar‘s Serpents Cave 4/4. We were running up and down and up and down Hummingbird Trail all day long. Both Art and I do a lot of solo hiking. I was happy that he accepted my invitation to hike this trail today because I really didn’t think it was wise to do it alone. And our hiking styles are similar–we both don’t mind taking our time–so we had a good time as hiking companions today.
Another benefit of hiking with someone is that I have photographic proof that I was really there.
Just about the time I was thinking that is was nice not to worry about poison oak, there is was. In fact, in some places it was next to impossible to avoid. I’m almost sure that I will be reminded about this hike in about a week when I start getting that itchy rash.
This is the site of Simigate. In fact, if you know where to look, you can see the cache in this photo. The photo also shows the west side of Simi Peak. Unfortunately, it also shows that all the elevation what we had been working so hard to gain was soon to be lost as we headed DOWN the trail so we could then climb UP again to get to the summit.
A friend told me that there is an arch on the ridge below Simi Peak. When we approached Simi Cave, I was glad to have found it. Not quite southern Utah, but it’s still pretty cool.
I had a new experience along the trail today. TICKS. TICKS. And more TICKS! In all my years of hiking, I have only knowingly picked up a few ticks. By few, I mean less that a dozen. After walking through the bushes along the trail, I matched that with the first time that I stopped. I had 15 to 20 ticks on my pants. For a while, every time I left a bushy area, I had to stop and brush off more ticks. Luckily, they all stayed on the outside of my pants. I did a careful tick check when I got home. We left all the ticks on the mountain. [UPDATE: This morning, when I was folding the laundry from yesterday, I found a tick–dead, luckily–stuck on my undershirt. It made it through the washing machine and the dryer without coming off.]
I posted the photo of Art and me on the top of Simi Peak as the opening photo of this post. We took a 30-minute lunch break on the top and enjoyed the views. Then it was time for the descent. There was a long section without geocaches because it’s National Park Service land and caches can’t be placed on NPS-controlled land. What we did get was a chance to hike through the beautiful area in and around China Flat. I was very impressed.
It was a great day of hiking and of geocaching. I highly recommend the route that we took today, as long as you don’t mind steep climbs. I don’t think that I would want to do this loop clockwise. I would much prefer going up the steep places than to try to go down them. If you just want to get to the top of Simi Peak, take Albertson in and out. Or perhaps approach from the south from Cheesboro. But if you want an unforgettable geocaching or hiking adventure, give this route a try.